Thursday, December 19, 2013

What We Know About How Children Learn Math - And How It Can Help Us Close the Achievement Gap

(This week's post is the first half of a two-part article I wrote for

When it comes to math, American students lag behind their counterparts in many European and Asian countries, as do American adults. Our nation’s fourth graders are outperformed in math by students from Singapore, Korea, Japan, Northern Ireland, and Hong Kong, while the U.S. ranks 19th in adult math skills among advanced democracies. These problems exist despite the fact that we spend $1.3 trillion a year – nearly 9% of the American GDP – on education. Why is such a promising system failing its students?

Read the full article...

1 comment:

  1. Clements included in a study from 2011 the fact that of all studies related to educational mathematics, less than 2% involved efficacy of curricula. Bhatt and Koedel (2012) found very little empirical literature of curricula; and MOREOVER, what is effective in one context is very often not effective in another. Why is this surprising? Problems: how do we research curricula; who has access to students; what students; how long do we continue the studies; in today's light speed technological changes, how do we integrate curricula that will change based on any number of valid issues; who is paying for these studies...??? We need strong collaborative relationships between all stakeholders, data bases for storing findings AND ways to access those findings seamlessly...and a whole host of other things I don't know that I don't know we need! In the case of your former work, it doesn't scare me that teachers were part of the design...they SHOULD scares me that once it left that initial process, efficacy wasn't tracked. (What I've created in MY mind doesn't always translate to what I produce; so I sure can't expect it to translate in what someone else is producing for me...where's the feedback loop?) But this isn't hopeless, we've never been in a better position to disseminate, let's start looking and creating networks of knowledge sharing and innovation. Go...

    Bhatt, R., Koedel, C, (2012). Large-scale evaluations of curricular effectiveness: the case of elementary mathematics in indiana. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis 34, (4), 391–412

    Clements, D. H., Sarama, J., Spitler, M. E., Lange, A. A., & Wolfe, C. B. (2011). Mathematics learned by young children in an intervention based on learning trajectories: A large-scale cluster randomized trial. Journal for Research in Mathematics Education, 42(2), 127-166.